Alucam reduces its electricity needs by 60 MW to supply households during low-flow period

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The low-flow period, characterised by the drop in the water levels in dams in Cameroon due to the drought, is now officially over for 2015. The announcement was made in a correspondence from the MD of Eneo, the concessionaire of the public electricity service, addressed on 1st July 2016 to consumer associations.

According to Joël Nana Kontchou, this period (December-June) generally characterised by several power cuts detrimental to companies and households, was rather marked, this time around, by a conservation of the balance between the national electricity supply and demand. The MD of Eneo cites a combination of three main factors at the roots of this major change.

First, we learn, there is the partial flooding of the Lom Pangar dam, in the Eastern region, which helped to stabilise the upstream flow of the Sanaga River. “The flow this year enabled the Songloulou and Edéa power plants to produce close to twice more than last year during the same period”, the MD of Eneo highlighted in his note to the electricity users.

Then, there was “the works carried out in the power plants to get a better efficiency from the machines” and finally, the reduction in the needs of the company Aluminium du Cameroun (Alucam), which “further contributed to make the system more flexible and guarantee reserves of raw material”. Indeed, we learn, throughout the 2015 low-water period, this industry, which on its own consumes over 40% of the power produced in Cameroon, “agreed to not consume 60 MW out of the 190 MW it expects to be supplied from Eneo as per contractually agreed”.

We can however note that this reduction in the electricity needs of Alucam also corresponds to a drop in activity in this industrial unit, due to the gloomy international environment for raw material prices. To substantiate this, during the first quarter of 2016, as highlighted by a report just published by France’s regional economic service, exports of metallurgic products from the Cemac countries to France dropped “by 65%, following the decrease in the sales of aluminium in Cameroon”.

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Nigeria look to Europe for next coach, who will face daunting WCQ challenge

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Nigeria are in the hunt to find a new coach to manage the senior national team, but that process is anything but simple. Since the departure of Lars Lagerback in 2010, the country has stayed to local coaches for the national team. Samson Siasia, Stephen Keshi and Sunday Oliseh have all had had their turn at managing the Super Eagles.

Of the three, Keshi was the most successful, guiding the team to the African Nations Cup title in 2013 and the round of 16 at the World Cup a year later, butwas fired after getting his hands burned in a political power play with the federation.

Siasia, despite riding a wave of popularity among fans and his penchant for attacking — if occasionally reckless football — failed to qualify for the Nations Cup and was given the boot. Oliseh quit after multiple run-ins with the federation.

Outside of these three, Nigeria’s local choices are now limited. Salisu Yusuf, who was handed the post in a two-game friendly capacity, is believed to be the brightest and most tactically astute of the Nigerian coaching pool. An added advantage is his deep knowledge of the Nigerian domestic league, where he has coached clubs like Kano Pillars, Enyimba, Nasarawa United and more in addition to having worked in an assistant capacity with Siasia at national level.

There are also Manu Garba and Emmanuel Amuneke, two gentlemen who have won the World Cup at under-17 level playing the kind of swashbuckling, attacking football that Nigerians have come to love but are finding hard to see in their senior side. Another former coach, Austin Eguavoen, has ruled himself out of the running.

But top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are hesitant to go local. Sources tell ESPN FC that one of the major reasons is the widespread allegations of impropriety among local coaches. Former coach Clemens Westerhof blew the lid on the scandal three years ago.

Last year, former international Taye Taiwo made similar claims and recently, under-20 coach Garba was forced to deny that he was involved after an agent claimed to have paid him $2,500.

Having been drawn in a difficult World Cup qualifying group, Nigeria football officials appear determined to look outside not only to avoid any such suggestions of impropriety, but also to ensure top-quality selection and tactical decisions for the team.

Paul Le Guen
Paul Le Guen

NFF president Amaju Pinnick has never hidden his preference for a European coach, with Frenchman Paul Le Guen being his preferred choice. Others, including former Ghana coach Goran Stepanovic have thrown their hats into the ring. Even former women’s international striker Mercy Akide tweeted that she would be interested in coaching the men’s team, but it is clear that the wind is blowing in the direction of a European.

The major issue has been how the broke NFF will fund the coach’s wages. An issue they appear to have found a solution for by means of reportedly securing a sponsorship to pay the manager’s wages from an undisclosed oil company.

But they face pushback from within. The decision has not gone down well with local coaches, with former national women’s coach Godwin Izilein predicting World Cup qualifying disaster.

On Friday, the NFF will announce a shortlist of potential coaches. Leading that list will most probably be Le Guen.

Irrespective of who does get the job, time is in short supply. He will need to get to work quickly. And the NFF would also need to ensure that they do their part to ensure qualification from a very difficult group.


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Cameroon Repels Boko Haram Attack on Border Post

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YAOUNDE — Cameroon says Boko Haram fighters attacked a command post on its northern border with Nigeria. The attack followed a series of targeted military operations in the area that the government says destroyed at least 10 bomb-making laboratories.

Cameroon government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary says more than 100 suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked the Homeka border village command post of the multinational joint task force Monday.

He told VOA the insurgents ransacked several villages after they were pushed back by the military. He said one soldier was wounded.

He says the attack on the command post is an indication that even though the enemy is in agony, it is still capable of incessantly creating trouble. He says he wants to inform them that the military will continue to defend the country’s territorial integrity.

Cameroon is one of five countries contributing to the multinational joint task force.

Cameroon sent more soldiers to the far northern border area last week after two suicide bombings in the town of Limani killed 13 people.

Tchiroma says troops have since raided eight villages on both sides of the border, killing and arresting large numbers of militants and freeing captives. He says at least 10 laboratories for the manufacture of explosive devices were destroyed.

“Arrow’ offensive

He says some fighters have managed to escape. He says they believe the ongoing Nigerian and Cameroonian offensive called “Arrow” has pushed Boko Haram toward Nigeria’s northern border with Niger.

Landmines and suicide bombings have been a top challenge in northern Cameroon.

Cameroon sealed trouble spots along its border with Nigeria and prohibited gatherings outside mosques during Ramadan to try to mitigate the threat.


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The Financial Investigation Agency is tracking FCfa 128 billion following 500 reports of suspicion

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The National Financial Investigation Agency (ANIF), the enforcer in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing in Cameroon, received over 500 reports of suspicion in 2014, the pro-government daily revealed, citing a report from the institution.

These 500 reports of suspicion (against 250 in 2013), which have already helped build 60 cases transmitted to the Cameroonian justice system, we learn, concern a total of FCfa 128 billion, on which ANIF is hoping to trace.

According to the texts regulating its operation, ANIF benefits from the collaboration of banks, microfinance establishments, insurance companies and other liable institutions.

According to the regulation, these structures must transmit to the State’s financial intelligence unit, reports of suspicion in cases of transactions made by their clients and concerning well defined amounts. All of which enables ANIF to initiate investigations.

Money laundering being done increasingly through investments in sectors such as real estate, we learn, ANIF has added hardware stores to the list of structures and other institutions under the obligation of transmitting reports of suspicion.

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MTN Cameroon switches off unregistered users

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MTN has suspended unregistered subscribers using its mobile network in Cameroon, a month after it agreed to pay a $1.7 billion fine in Nigeria over a similar issue.

The move comes after the operator held a national identification campaign between 11 April and 30 June this year, in an effort to comply with a governmental decree set last September.

The decree requires identification modalities for subscribers and terminal equipment for electronic mobile networks, and according to reports, those that did not comply during the period, or confirm their identification, have now been suspended.

To regain access, MTN Cameroon will allow subscribers to complete the process via MTN service centres across the country, in special identification centres, or at sales points of MTN’s distribution partners across all regions.

If this is done, the suspension will be lifted within 24 hours, and if not, the non-compliant number will be lost after a certain timeframe.

MTN Cameroon CEO Philisiwe Sibiya said the company is “leaving no stone unturned” as it attempts to fully comply with subscriber identification regulations.

“MTN is a responsible corporate citizen conscious of the risks associated with unregistered SIMs, especially at this time of heightened insecurity,” she said. “Subscriber identification is a permanent task and every MTN customer is important to us.”

After failing to unregister personal details of some 5.1 million subscribers last year, Nigerian regulators ordered the company to pay an initial $5.2 billion in fines.

It finally reached a settlement over the issue last month, settling on a reduced $1.7 billion hit.

Earlier this year, MTN Cameroon also came under fire by the country’s regulators for corruption related actions, which it strongly denied.

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Lionel Messi sentenced to 21 months for tax fraud, won’t go to prison

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MessiBARCELONA, Spain (AP) — A Barcelona court has given Lionel Messi and his father suspended sentences of 21 months in prison for tax fraud.

The court found both the Barcelona star and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, guilty of three counts of tax fraud.

In Spain, sentences of less than two years for first offences are suspended, meaning neither man will go to jail.

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Pistorius Sentenced to Six Years in Jail for Girlfriend’s Murder

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Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to six years in jail for murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day three years ago.

Judge Thokozile Masipa handed down the sentence, which was less than half of the recommended minimum 15-year jail term for murder, at the South African High Court on Wednesday as June and Barry Steenkamp, Reeva’s parents, watched from the public gallery. Pistorius, 29, showed little reaction as the judge read her decision and hugged his family afterward.

“A long-term of imprisonment will not serve justice in this matter,” she said. “The accused has already served 12 months, he is a first offender and he is not likely to re-offend.” Masipa called Pistorius “a fallen hero” and “a good candidate for rehabilitation.”

Pistorius, who was taken to Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria, the capital, will have to serve at least three years before parole is considered, Marius du Toit, a criminal-defense lawyer at Du Toit Attorneys, said by phone.

“She definitely erred on the side of caution with a lenient sentence,” he said of Masipa.

Pistorius’s lawyers won’t appeal the sentence, Andrew Fawcett, who’s on his legal team, told reporters after the hearing.

Masipa originally convicted Pistorius of manslaughter and gave him a five-year sentence. In December, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that he was guilty of murder, citing “errors of law” in the first verdict. The Constitutional Court decided on March 3 that Pistorius couldn’t appeal the murder conviction.

Factors of mitigation outweighed those of aggravation, and Pistorius had shown remorse for the killing, Masipa said.

“I find that there are compelling and exceptional circumstances to deviate from the prescribed sentence of 15 years,” she said.

Known as the Blade Runner because of his J-shaped prosthetic blades, Pistorius was granted 10,000-rand ($670) bail and ordered to remain under house arrest. He’s been serving part of his previous sentence for culpable homicide at his uncle’s home.

Pistorius won six Paralympic gold medals and was the first double-amputee runner to compete at the Olympic Games. He was born without fibula in both legs, which were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old.


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The Cameroonian football federation suspends fourteen players guilty of age-cheating

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Fourteen Cameroonian players have been found guilty of age-fraud and subsequently suspended by their federation according to reports coming out of Cameroon today.

The Fédération Camerounaise de Football uncovered that players had been lying about their age in an effort to play at the under-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Madagascar next year.

Age cheating is commonplace among African nations where it is often difficult to verify a player’s age, but the introduction of MRI testing has curtailed much of the dishonesty that has taken place in the past.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) gives examiners information about the structures of the body and was implemented by FIFA prior to the under-17 World Cup in 2009.

A total of 40 young players were subject to MRI testing on June 30 and July 1 in Yaounde with more than a third discovered to have been age-cheating.

“Fourteen players have just been found to be adjusting their ages by an MRI test,” reported Cameroon Radio television (CRTV).

Cameroon has a well documented history of age-cheating with former international Tobie Mimboe having used a number of different documents over the course of his career.

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